24 May 2016 City in the spotlight

A tour of London’s musical scene could take in Abbey Road; it could take in the Royal Opera House, or even Denmark Street’s music shops. But you’ve done that all before. We’re talking about grime. The organic scene popping off at the moment. It’s that music that your mum hates.

For this tour we’re bypassing the crowds of Zone 1 and hitting Zones 2, 3 and 4. We’ll be looking at some of the new stars of the city. Using the four points of the compass we’ll tour around the city, stopping in on grime stars who‘ve really made a name for themselves.



This is the home of the undisputed grime king of the moment, Skepta. This man is reigning supreme. Lost to that murky world of electro grime or dancey grime, he came back with That’s Not Me, a stripped back, singular track that was about turning his back on the flashy life the electro grime brought him.

The boy from Tottenham is taking grime to the States, Drake and Kanye are just two artists singing his praises.

His brother JME is also doing pretty well (he’s the other guy in the That’s Not Me vid). Both members of Boy Better Know, JME and Skepta are leading the charge.


It’s the spiritual home of grime. We’d be here weeks listing everyone that comes out of East. We’ll stick to the big dogs.

Wiley, the originator, the godfather of grime is a Bow boy. When he started making grime it wasn’t even called grime, as he so eloquently let the world know in ‘Wot U Call It’.

His genre-defining sound is best experienced through Eskimo

That sound changed the landscape of London’s (and the world’s) music scene. Without Eskimo there would be no Skream, no Zed Bias, no Skrillex. (on second thoughts, would that be so bad?)

No grime tour could be complete without a mention of Dizzee Rascal, another good old Bow boy, stay in our Old Street hotel to experience the area to its fullest. He is the one artist who can truly be described as crossing over (some may call it selling out). He went from making music like this:

To making music like this:

An honourable shout out to Goldie in that last video, of Drum and Bass and Bond villain fame.


Overlooked in the past as a sort of black hole. That has changed in a big way. Two of grime’s young upstarts hail from south of the river. Novelist, and his crew The Square come from Lewisham, more particularly Brockley. 

He made his name from Take Time, a collaboration with Mumdance.

But the real star of South at the moment, and two-time MOBO award winner Stormzy, is setting the world on fire. He has an Apple Music channel called #MERKY and dominated 2015 with his track Shut Up.

His new track, Scary is a little darker and, you guessed it, scarier.

The Thornton Heath boy shoots the majority of his videos around Croydon. Check them out.


West London is another oddly barren grime landscape. Bashy is a Hammersmith boy with a social conscience. The former postman and bus driver, rose to fame with his song Black Boys:


The song was in response to spiralling knife and gun crime in the capital, and media claims that there were no black role models to deter young black men from a life of crime. A claim he disagreed with.

His fame was solidified when he wrote the theme song for Adulthood, the song was entitled Kidulthood to Adulthood.

The best festivals in Manchester this autumn

August 2017 | City in the spotlight, Insider’s Guide

With so many incredible festivals having taken place in Manchester over the summer (see here for examples), you might think things would start slowing down with the cooling of the temperature and the arrival of Autumn…Well, think again as September and October are packed with loads of fun events and festivals to welcome in the new season and reassure people that winter ain’t that bad.

A history of the Notting Hill Carnival

August 2017 | City in the spotlight

Notting Hill Carnival will take place on the 27th and 28th of August this year, with the more chilled Family Day on Sunday, and the grand finale happening on Monday. Seeing as the carnival is such an iconic event, we thought we’d take a look at a bit of its history and the story of Caribbean music in the UK.

Amazing Festivals this August: Manchester

July 2017 | City in the spotlight, Insider’s Guide

We recently took a look at some of the best music and dance festivals on offer this August in London, and now it’s Manchester’s turn. This Northern town is famous for its eclectic and fresh music scene, as well as for its crazy, all-night long parties – and what better recipe could you have for the perfect festival? The month will see all a hugely diverse and exciting range of genres, artists and venues in its different festivals, from the smooth croons of the Manchester Soul festival through to the electric beats of Creamfields.